Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most followed world leader on Facebook with 43.2 million followers on his personal page, almost twice as many as U.S. President Donald J. Trump who is in second place with 23.1 million followers on his personal page, according to the newly released 2018 “World Leaders on Facebook” study by Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW), a top-three, full-service, global communications agency with deep expertise in digital and integrated communications.
As of March 15, 2018, Queen Rania of Jordan is in third place with 16 million followers, ahead of the institutional page of the Indian Premier, @PMOIndia, with 13.9 million followers. Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has shot into fifth position of the most followed world leaders, with 9.6 million followers and a growth rate of 48 percent.
The study further reveals that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the most followed African leader with over 7.2 million followers, followed by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta who has 3.5 million followers. Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, comes in 3rd in Africa with approximately 1.6 million followers.
The study analyzes the activity of 650 Facebook pages of heads of state and government and foreign ministers from January 1, 2017 using aggregate data from Facebook’s Crowdtangle tool.
Over the past 14 months, the Facebook page of President Trump had by far the most interactions of any world leader on Facebook, with a total of 204.9 million interactions (defined as the total number of comments, likes and shares), almost twice as many as Narendra Modi with 113.6 million interactions. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has 46 million interactions and Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen andArgentina’s President Mauricio Macri follow with 36 and 33.4 million interactions, respectively.
The World Leaders on Facebook study found that 175, or 91 percent, of the 193 United Nations (UN) member states maintain an official Facebook page. In addition, 109 heads of state, 86 heads of government and 72 foreign ministers maintain personal pages on the platform.
“Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s World Leaders on Facebook study is the premier work on how governments use the platform for political communications,” said Chad Latz, Chief Innovation Officer, Burson Cohn & Wolfe. “It is clear that world leaders are increasingly using social media to communicate directly with their constituents and platforms like Facebook to bring a personal, humanizing tone to their communications.”
Facebook has become the key platform for world leaders and governments to engage with voters, supporters and citizens. As of March 15, 2018, all pages of world leaders combined had a total of 309.4 million followers. Since January 1, 2017, they have published a total of 536,644 posts which have garnered close to 900 million interactions.
The findings revealed that, while more than half of the posts have photos, world leaders are increasingly sharing videos and a handful are going live to talk directly to their constituents. Posts with videos attracted by far the most interactions: 2,615 on average, compared to 1,750 for photo posts, with Facebook Live videos garnering on average 4,489 interactions. The 91,266 Facebook videos posted on world leaders’ pages have been viewed 5.4 billion times with an average view count of 70,790 per video.
Other key findings include:
- The Facebook page of the government of Botswana is the busiest, with an average of 35 posts per day since January 1, 2017. The governments of Ethiopia and the presidency of Ghana are not far behind, with 28 and 21 posts per day, respectively.
- The White House is the page most followed by peers, with 28 peer connections. It is followed by the European Commission with 24 peer connections and the U.S. State Department with 20.
- Other pages followed by world leaders include the United Nations (liked by 45), the European Parliament and the archived Obama White House page (each liked by 26) and NATO (liked by 19).
- The Russian Foreign Ministry has made the most diplomatic overtures on Facebook, liking 97 other peer pages including the personal page of Donald Trump which is also only liked by one other leader, Roosevelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister of Dominica.
- The governments of only 18 countries have not yet set up a presence on Facebook, including China, North Korea and Turkmenistan, however a Facebook page was set up for the Chinese State Council Information Office @ChinaSCIO which has only 175 likes.
- The most visited institution is The White House, with just under 5.2 million check-ins, followed by the Ugandan State House with 225,991 and 10 Downing Street with more than 190,000 check-ins.
- More than 60 percent of all World Leaders’ Facebook pages allow fans to contact the page privately using Facebook Messenger. Half of the 390 pages open to messages typically reply within a day or even within minutes using Facebook chatbots and automated replies.
About the Study
World Leaders on Facebook is Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s latest research into how world leaders, governments and international organizations communicate via social media. The research builds on Burson-Marsteller’s highly acclaimed annual Twiplomacy study, which is now in its sixth year. In 2016, the Twiplomacy study was expanded to cover all key social media platforms and has massively enhanced Burson-Marsteller’s digital reputation worldwide.